Collaborating to Help Children with Autism
From October 7 – 13, Dr. Ralph Sperry and Dr. Robert Putnam, from Boston’s May Institute, visited the Sultanate of Oman. In coordination with Oman’s Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development, and Ministry of Education, the U.S. Embassy organized a four-day workshop on early autism identification and intervention. Over 150 physicians, educators, policy-makers, and parents attended the workshop, learning valuable skills and tools to identify autism in children earlier, and intervene to give them the support they need.
It Takes a Village
Dr. Sperry and Dr. Putnam emphasized over and over again that “it takes a village” to confront the challenge of autism. Parents, physicians, educators, policy-makers, clinicians, teachers, and more must work together in order to ensure that children who suffer from autism have the support that will help them become productive members of society. In addition to the workshop, the Doctors met separately with officials from the Ministry of Education, Health, and Social Development. They discussed the specific ways each Ministry can contribute to supporting their autistic population.
Just the Start
One of the most promising outcomes of Dr. Sperry and Dr. Putnam’s visit was that it was just the beginning. They have worked closely with their newfound contacts at the Ministry of Health to plan a follow up visit in 2017. The Doctors will draw on their resources and expertise at the May Institute to provide training in gold-standard methods and tools for the early identification of autism in children. They will empower Oman’s physicians and clinicians to identify autism in children when it’s early enough to provide the most effective support. We look forward to their next visit.